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The thrill of driving a new car off a dealer’s lot is appealing, but experts warn not to let the new car smell go to your head when it comes to borrowing money to make it happen.

Mark Kalinowski, a credit counsellor and financial educator at the Credit Counselling Society, says you need to know what you can afford when it comes to a car loan. “If you can’t pay for it and they repossess it, well, now your credit’s ruined for a long time,” he said. You can only afford so much credit based on your income level, so if you take on a car loan, that will eat away at other borrowing capacity such as a mortgage, Kalinowski said. 

How much is a car? Add interest, among other things

When shopping for a car, the numbers can come fast and furious and they can add up quickly. It’s important to keep the total cost of the vehicle in mind, Kalinowski said, not just the monthly or biweekly payment you will have to make. “One of the big things you see in dealerships is they don’t sell you the price of the car, they sell you the payments,” he said…

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